How to Run Overhead Electrical Wire to Garage | Step By Step Guide


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If you are remodelling an old garage or building a new one, you must decide if you want to leave the walls open or seal them with a gypsum board. Therefore, if you want to leave the walls and ceiling open, you must follow the rules we have here. In this guide, I will discuss how to run overhead electrical wire to the garage?

In a completed home or garage, a solid wall covering such as sheetrock. Drywall or even wood will protect the wiring from damage. The key to safe and compliant exterior wiring is to use framing to protect and support the cables. This means that cables should not pass through joists or studs.

Secure all wires to the ceiling studs, panels, and joists to prevent misuse (see the section on “Dangerous Wiring Mistakes” at the end of this document). In this post, we will discuss how to run overhead electrical wire to the garage.

How to Run Overhead Electrical Wire to Garage?

How to Run Overhead Electrical Wire to Garage

Box location and cable routing

Inserting cables into the box

  • Remove at least 8 cm of plastic sheathing from one end of the cable and route the wire through the grommet of the electrical box.
  • Ensure that the plastic sheath at the bottom of the exposed conductor protrudes into the box by approximately 1.5 cm.
  • Secure the wire to within 8 inches of the box. Wires should be at least 1.5 inches from the front and back of the frame.

Start planning the wiring and nail all the electrical boxes.

  • To run the cable from one box to another, remove the cable from the reel. Now remove at least 8 inches of the coiled cable, and run the cable and about 1/2 inch of the coiled cable through the holes in the box.
  • Loosen the cable and secure it to the frame at least every 10 feet until you reach the next box and cut it to the desired length.
  • When you reach the next box, unclip the cable, mark the insertion point on the cable, cut the cable to 1 meter long, remove the sheath, and insert the cable into the box.
  • Then attach the clips to the box.
  • According to the regulations, all cables must be at least 1.5 cm away from the front and back of the posts and rafters.
  • In the case of a 2×4 frame, this means you must securely fasten two wires.
  • If you have three or more wires, you will need special clips to stack them.
  • These aren’t always sold at hardware stores but can be found at electrical stores.
  • Sometimes these clips are the only option because there are too many wires on end.
  • It would help if you tied wires between cans at least every 48 cm, but the more clips, the better.
  • Avoid wrapping the wires and staple the windings as tightly as needed.
  • Electrical boxes may have built-in metal or plastic staples.
  • Many double-sided boxes have only pre-made clips. Wires should be clamped 8 inches from the can and 12 inches from the can when not clamped.

How do I Install Surface Wires in a Solid Wall?

Install Surface Wires in a Solid Wall
  • Cover surface wires in solid walls with PVC or metal conduit to protect them.
  • Use the correct plug, socket, and tape for each type of cable.
  • Use plugs if the cable runs through the open end of the conduit.
  • Many garages have one or more concrete walls.
  • Cables that are on surfaces should have protection by cable ducting. It would help if you used a rigid PVC conduit.
  • Use 1/2-inch conduit (14-2 or 12-2) for one cable and 3/4-inch conduit for two cables.
  • Regardless of the type of cable working, select cans, straps, and connectors have special designs for that cable type.
  • Secure the box to the wall through the backing plate and attach the conduit to the wall at least every three meters.
  • Route the cable through the open slots and install as the manual says.
  • Do not run the cable through the cutout, as the sharp metal edges will pierce the sheath.
  • Always thread the cable through the connector.

Contested code: Utility cables over garages

The International Residential Code, the most widely adopted building code in the United States, does not require wiring in detached garages.

There are certain requirements for garages with electrical service. Please note that regulations vary from state to state and are only minimum requirements.

Indoor lighting

Garages with electricity shall have at least one interior light that you can control with a wall switch. The program garage door openers with illuminations do not meet this requirement, even if a separate switch controls the lighting.

Outdoor lighting

A floor switch shall be provided in power-operated garages in front of each exit door, controlled by a wall switch or motion sensor. Vehicle doors are not considered to be exit doors for the regulations.


Garages with electricity shall have at least one electrical outlet. No restrictions exist as to the location of the points of sale.

GFCI protection

It would help if you protected garage electrical outlets with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

Service wiring from the house to the garage

  • Dig an 18-inch deep trench to run an outdoor cable from the main panel to the garage sub-panel.
  • Use 1 1/4″ PVC cable for 100 amp substations or 1″ PVC cable for substations up to 50 amps.
  • Route the wires from the garage to the main junction box. If the garage is not concrete, install the wiring on the garage floor.
  • Use a 90-degree wide-angle plug, not a sharp 90-degree plug, to route the cable.
  • Once you finish the concrete, run the conduit through the garage’s exterior wall and use PVC LB connectors through the wall to install the flush box.
  • Follow the same procedure as for the header box.
  • Attach a piece of plywood 15 cm larger than the tile to the wall where you will install the tile.
  • This is called a “sponge.” Screw a box into the center and attach an air hose to it.
  • Some local regulations require the sponge to be painted black.
  • Use THHN wire #8 on the 50 amp side panel and THHN wire #2 on the 100 amp side panel.
  • Connect the wires from the main panel to the side panel. Route the black, red, white, and green wires to the main distribution box on the slave side.
  • Whether it is cold outdoors, you can keep the wires warm while they are inside. The wires are easier to handle when they are not cold.


  • Connect the red and black wires from the side panel to the main panel terminals.
  • Connect the white wire to the remote light zero switches and the green wire to the ground rod, which connects directly to the base panel.
  • Set the main switch to the central position. The red and black cables are to be connected to the screws of the switches. Connect the white wire to the neutral wire and the green wire to the earth.
  • Use a voltmeter to check the correct current in the sub-centers. Replace the fuse box cover and open the garage circuit breaker.

Power supply for a detached house

  • In some cases, underground wiring is not practical.
  • There are often obstructions around the house, such as driveways, patios, or other buildings, that prevent underground wiring from running without too much trouble.
  • You will need to install an overhead cable to act as a feeder to the garage in these cases.

Step 1

  • Check to ensure that no overhead service lines are in the house’s public areas, such as the driveway and patio.
  • These are major safety hazards, and you should avoid them at all costs.
  • If you don’t keep overhead power lines safe from your home’s water source, you could violate local building codes.

Step two

  • In the next steps, you’ll need to hone your carpentry and roofing skills.
  • Install 13 feet of pipes, one on the side of the main house with electricity and one on the side of the garage with electricity.
  • Installing the pipes correctly requires basic skills.
  • Otherwise, you’ll need to call in an electrician.
  • The advantage of a 13-foot pipe is that it is easy to reach the top with an extension ladder, and the height is sufficient for most vehicles.

Step three

  • Attach the anchoring ropes between two different supports, for example, between the house and the pipes connected to the garage.
  • You will need ropes because the cables cannot support your weight. Therefore, you need to provide mechanical support with support cables.
  • Make sure that the cable is well insulated and strong enough to carry the weight of the wire.
  • For this purpose, you can use National Hardware cable N267-013 2573BC.
  • Also, make sure that the cable is not too loose, as it can stretch and pull depending on the outside temperature.
  • Otherwise, if not careful, the wire might break if it is too cold.

Step 4

  • Wrap the power cord around the support wires at 12-14 cm intervals.
  • Make sure that the wires are not too loose between each hole to allow them to shrink as they cool.
  • You can also secure the cable with a zip tie rather than a wrap.

Step 5

  • Make sure the conduit is weatherproof to prevent water from entering the main junction box.

Air ducts in the garage

Most houses have a garage that is already equipped with electricity and power.

If your house has a garage or shed, a separate electrical connection is required.

One of the best options is to install an overhead wire from the house to the garage.

What are the reasons why your garage should be electrified?

why your garage should be electrified
  • Electrifying your garage can be very beneficial. If you normally use an electrically operated garage door, you will need to electrify your garage.
  • If you want to carry out different types of work in your garage, you will also need electricity.
  • It is important to have electricity in your garage to ensure safety.

How to Run Overhead Electrical Wire to Garage: FAQs

Can I power my garage upstairs?

Most homes have a garage that is already equipped with electricity and power.

If you have a separate garage or shed at home, you will need to power them separately. The standard option is to install overhead power lines from the house to the garage.

What diameter cable do I need to connect the house to the garage?

Standard sockets typically use 20 amps and 12-core cables.

If you are installing a sub-divider in the garage, you will need to use a cable that is appropriate for the wire sizes of the sub-divider. This is usually 30, 40, or 50 amps.

Can I have an exposed electrical cable in the garage?

When you finish your house or garage, you must protect the electrical wiring from damage by permanent wall coverings such as drywall, plaster, or even wood. This is not the case if you have your garage ready to work.

The key to safe and compliant exposed wiring is framing components that protect and support the wires. A safer garage will maintain communities safer.

How deep should power lines be buried?

24 inches

How much does it cost to run electricity to the garage?

They add electrical wiring to a garage that costs between $1,000 and $4,000. You must install the upper end of this range. This applies to individual garages where you must install underground power from the main distribution box to the garage.

Do the cables in the garage need to be run to a cable tray?

However, you require cable routing where the cable is working wrong. You may check out the physical aspects.

A duct is not usually required for a cable with a sheath protected behind a plasterboard.

Local electrical codes are different if it is an open frame (common in detached garages, rarer in enclosed garages).

What cable size is needed for a 200 amp underground connection?

For 200 amp service, you must use AWG 2/0 copper conductors or AWG 4/0 aluminium or copper-clad aluminium conductors.

How many outlets can there be in a garage?

New garages require at least one dedicated 20 amps, the 120-volt circuit that feeds the garage only. This circuit can also power outlets outside the garage. The garage shall have at least one circuit breaker to control the lighting.

What size circuit breaker do I need for the garage?

We can suggest you have a 50 amp circuit breaker with an 8/3 conductor between the two buildings because you need to control the load for most garages.

Install a second panel with its main circuit breaker to allow for power outages in the garage to service the panel breakers.

How far can a 12-meter cable be run?

  • A 12-foot wire is typically sufficient for 15 amps per 100 feet.
  • They recommend six gauges for your 160 feet.
  • Even with a 5% drop, you won’t reach your goal with less than 10-gauge wire, and that’s not even good.

What diameter cable do you need for a 100 amp subwoofer?

  • The cable must be of sufficient diameter for the rated current of the panel; for a 100 amp panel, you will need a No. 4.
  • Copper wire or, more often, a No. 2 copper wire or a No. 2 aluminum wire, e.g., two aluminum wires.

What type of cable should I use to cable my garage?

  • As a general guideline, use 12 AWG copper conductors and 20 amp breakers and 14 AWG copper conductors, and 15 amp breakers.
  • Since the outlets are located in the garage, they should have GFCI protection. You can get this protection with GFCI receptacles or a GFCI circuit breaker.

Do I need a sub-division panel in the garage?

  • If you can find cable installation in a complete area, you will require a separate grounding bar. Therefore, this is a must if you already have a sub-panel.
  • It does not matter whether three or four wires feed it.

Do I need to have a conduit for the wiring in the garage?

Generally speaking, you need cable trays where cables have a bad performance, or maybe they are outdoors to the environment.

So, sheathed cables protected behind plasterboard usually do not require ducting. Moreover, local electrical codes will vary in the open frame (common in detached garages, infrequent in attached garages).

Do I have to run the underground cable in an underground conduit?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires an 18-inch installation depth for cables in rigid non-metallic conduit (e.g., PVC).

Cables that are in-depth, including PVC cables, are not at risk of electric cuts or problems during normal excavation work.

Can Romex cables be visible in a garage?

You can freely install exposed NM Romex cable on finished surfaces of buildings in a finished house or garage.

The wires have permanent wall coverings such as drywall, plasterboard, or even lumber. However, this is not the case in garages that are in buildings’ construction work.

Can electrical cables be exposed?

It is not safe to run electrical wires and extension cords on the floor or under carpets. However, it would help if you kept wires out of reach of people and animals. All this, as there is a fire risk if they come into constant contact, and people who trip over them can suffer injuries.

What is the code for garage sockets?

The basic rule for garage sockets is to install one socket in each vehicle compartment at a maximum height of 1.50 meters from the floor.

Bottom Line

We possess all the information necessary to decipher the riddle; how to run overhead electrical wire to garage. Be sure to check your local building codes to make sure you have permission to install electrical outlets above; regulations and conditions vary from municipality to municipality.

If you need help installing pipes, poles, or cables, don’t forget to hire a professional. However, do not run cables over water materials in the especially swimming pools, as there is a risk of electric shock. We hope this article has clarified to you “How to Run Overhead Electrical Wire to Garage?”

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